LIFESTYLE | August 22, 2017 12:53

Presidential hopeful Sisulu says Zuma should face 'State Capture' music

JOHANNESBURG -- As South Africans countdown the days to the ANC's elective conference in December, a sign that may hint to change on the horizon, so the political infighting heightens. The battle to succeed current president Jacob Zuma has seen his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma lead the charge but players such as Mathews Phosa and Baleka Mbete have thrown their hats in the ring. With the battle in simple terms seen as one between those against, and those for 'State Capture'. Another incumbent Lindiwe Sisulu has joined the race. The Human Settlements Minister has came out blazing over the weekend, calling on the ruling party to initiate disciplinary action over Zuma's involvement in the abuse of State funds. Sisulu herself is from good stock, the daughter of Walter and Albertina Sisulu, who both fought alongside Nelson Mandela to bring an end to Apartheid. She trained as a teacher and previously served as minister of defense and military veterans, intelligence and public service and administration. South Africans can expect more twists and turns as we draw ever closer to December, an event Jakkie Cilliers holds the key to the country's future. – Stuart Lowman

by Sam Mkokeli

(Bloomberg) – South Africa's ruling African National Congress should initiate disciplinary action over allegations that President Jacob Zuma and members of a family in business with his son have looted state coffers, according to a member of his cabinet who is running to replace him as party leader.

"The ANC should act decisively on anybody in authority who is suspected or alleged to be doing wrong," Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said in an interview Sunday in the northeastern town of Polokwane. "The fact that the president is involved" shouldn't make a difference, she said.

Separate reports by the nation's graft ombudsman in November, and the country's main church organization and a team of top academics in May allege members of the Gupta family used their links to Zuma to secure sweetheart contracts and deals from state companies. While thousands of emails between the Guptas, their staff and business associates that were later leaked to the local media show how the family allegedly benefited from undue influence over the government, Zuma and the Guptas have disputed their authenticity and denied wrongdoing.

Zuma's leadership and alleged role in a succession of scandals have eroded support for the 105-year-old ANC, which has ruled Africa's most-industrialized economy since the end of white-minority rule in 1994. It lost control of Pretoria, the capital, and Johannesburg, the economic hub, in municipal elections in August last year.

The president has clung to office because of the support of most of the party's top leaders, who rely on him for their posts in the cabinet and government.

Party Divide

Divisions within the party were laid bare on Aug. 8, when more than two dozen ANC lawmakers backed an opposition motion of no confidence in Zuma. ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe announced on Aug. 15 that three of the party's lawmakers who openly backed the unsuccessful bid to oust Zuma would face disciplinary action.

ANC presidential hopeful, Lindiwe Sisulu says there's been intimidation of people who support certain candidates for party's top position.

— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) August 12, 2017

Sisulu, 63, criticized the party's actions, saying it had exercised selective judgment by targeting some of its members who failed to toe the party line, while failing to take action against the president. ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa didn't answer calls seeking comment.

The claims that the Gupta family influenced government decisions need to be addressed because they affect perceptions of the ANC, she said.

"The ANC unfortunately has not done anything about it and it is something that is everyday in the newspapers, allowed to just blow with the wind and contaminate everything we have done and built around this country," she said.

ANC Luminaries

Sisulu is among several candidates bidding to replace Zuma when he steps down as party leader in December. The front-runners for the post are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, 64, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, the former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and an ex-wife of the president. Other contenders include parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, 67, and Mathews Phosa, 64, a former ANC treasurer-general.

Sisulu trained as a teacher and has previously served as minister of defense and military veterans, intelligence and public service and administration. She is the daughter of the late ANC luminaries Walter and Albertina Sisulu, who fought alongside Nelson Mandela to bring an end to white-minority rule.

Whoever wins will have a tough task stabilizing the ANC, restoring its integrity and rebuilding business confidence that was badly damaged by Zuma's March decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, according to Sisulu. The implication of the president in controversy has weighed on investor confidence and helped send the economy into recession.

ANC NEC member @SisuluLindiwe says good leaders are denied opportunity to lead due to vote buying & factionalism within party.#AMLive

— #AMLive 104-107fm " (@amliveonsafm) August 21, 2017

"Whoever we put out there as a candidate for the ANC must be the kind of person who will make us win the elections," Sisulu said. "If the party wins in 2019, it will probably be with a very reduced margin. If we don't, we would have lost everything we ever worked for," she said.

Waning Support

Support for the ANC fell to about 54 percent in the municipal vote in August from 62 percent in national elections two year earlier.

Several local politicians voiced support for Sisulu's candidacy on Sunday at a meeting of ANC supporters at a 5,000-seat stadium in Mopani outside Polokwane.

"We support her because she is a brilliant woman and she is not corrupt," said Sam Mawila, a college teacher who attended the gathering. "She is not like Zuma, who is now trying to pass the baton to his ex so she can protect him from facing the music for all his scandals."